Will You Spend Eternity?
Jesus Christ made it very clear that a persons
relationship with God in this present life will determine his destiny in the life to come
(Matthew 19:16-26; 7:13-23).
In a parable on the last judgment in Matthew 25:31ff, Jesus brought
out this truth clearly. He concluded His parable saying, These will go away into
eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (v. 46).
Jesus has power over life and death because He rose from the dead (1
Cor. 15:4). For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both
of the dead and of the living (Rom. 14:9). He is the very embodiment of Gods
living power, conquering death and raising the dead (2 Cor. 13:4). Jesus alone gives
Moreover, Jesus said the most sobering thing about mans eternal
destiny. Hell is the destiny of those who refuse Him. Heaven is the destiny of those who
believe in Him.
Jesus not only gives eternal life; He is eternal life (1 Jn. 5:20;
Jn. 11:25-26; Rom. 5:12ff; 1 Cor. 15:20ff; Gal. 2:16, 20; Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:10).
The life Christ gives is not confined to this life, but points to
eternal life when the last enemy, death, is vanquished forever (1 Cor. 15:20-28; Rom.
6:22; Gal. 6:8; Rev. 21:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17). We will be with Christ forever (Jn. 14:1-3;
1 Thess. 4:17; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23). This life that God gives is received by faith in
His Son (1 J. 5:12).
The frightening thing is there is no escape from Gods judgment
for eternity. The consequences of neglecting or rejecting Gods gift of life are
tragic. It is plain from Gods Word that sin will be punished (Matt. 10:15; Dan.
12:2; Jn. 5:28-29; Rom. 5:12-21). No one will be exempt. The message of the Bible is clear
that there is never any indication that the punishment of sin ever ceases.
The duration of the punishment will be the same as the gift of life.
It is a never-ending age to come. Jesus said, Then He will also say to
those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has
been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). A little later He said,
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal
life (v. 46). The apostle Paul gave the same emphasis when he wrote, These
will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from
the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:9).
The eternity of God is not a limited duration. It is important that
the same adjective is used for eternal punishment as is for eternal life (Matt. 25:46).
The punishment is no more limited than the gift of life.
Jesus spoke of hell more often than did anyone else in the New
Testament. He was not mean; He dealt with reality and truth. Nowhere in the Bible is there
a hint of any possible reversal of the last judgment. There is no second chance after you
Jesus said hell is unquenchable fire (Mk.
9:43; Lk. 3:17); hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not
quenched (Mk. 9:47-48). God has power to cast into hell (Lk. 12:5), and
there is a sin that will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to
come (Matt. 12:32). Eternal punishment is also described as outer
darkness (Matt. 8:12), and an impossible gulf (Lk. 16:26).
Jesus used vivid imagery to teach the terrible consequence of
rejecting Gods offer of eternal life. He described the grim reality of punishment as
the hell of fire (Matt. 5:22), the unquenchable fire (Mk. 9:43),
the outer darkness (Matt. 8:12), the worm that does not die (Mk.
9:48), weeping and gnashing of teeth (Lk. 13:28), the resurrection of judgment
(Jn. 5:29), being sentenced to hell (Matt. 23:33), beaten with many
stripes (Lk. 12:47), lost (Matt. 10:6).
The Bible speaks of a continuing punishment of sin without end.
Nowhere does it speak of an end to the punishment of sin. There is no indication that the
punishment of sin ever ceases.
However, in the light of the cross of Jesus Christ we can be sure
that the mercy of God reaches as far as mercy can reach. God does all that can be done for
mans salvation in the death of Jesus Christ. The good news is Jesus died for our
sins on the cross. He was separated from God because He became sin on our behalf and paid
our penalty (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ removed our sin so that you and I do not have to be
punished. He bore our punishment.
The grim reality of our personal choices must be faced honestly. The
ultimate of the sinner is eternal punishment unless he puts his faith in Jesus Christ as
his only hope of eternal life. If your heart is convicted with this study, I plead with
you to respond to the pleading of the Holy Spirit right now and repent and believe on
Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is no other choice, and neutral you cannot be.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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